The Importance of the Patient Experience

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Like all things must, the healthcare industry is changing and evolving. As the healthcare market becomes more and more saturated with options, patients are taking increasing control over what they choose. From growing numbers of providers to the telehealth and concierge services they offer, patients now have the authority to find exactly what they want- and why shouldn’t they? Healthcare is a serious topic that may lead to significant life changes. It’s only natural that patients seek providers who make their experiences as pleasant or comfortable as possible.

These changes create a growing need for healthcare professionals to re-evaluate their services and consider patients’ experiences. In previous decades, referrals drove patient traffic and decisions, but that is happening less and less. Now people are taking agency to find their own doctors that fit their individual needs and preferences. This adds increasing responsibility for private practices to evaluate measures beyond treatment pathways and consider how the whole experience is serving patients.

In an interview with Medical Economics, Thomas H. Lee, MD, Press Ganey’s chief medical officer, considers the importance of the patient experience:

“Patients want a good experience. It’s not about parking, it’s not about something as simple as waiting time. It’s about how they feel. Do they feel peace of mind? Do they feel like everyone is doing all they can for them and working well together? These are the big drivers of patient’s likelihood to recommend. Do patients feel the teamwork is good, the communication is good, the empathy is real?”

Dr. Lee’s words speak to the all-encompassing nature of the modern healthcare experience. While treatment and recovery remain as the root and reason for healthcare, there are other increasingly important factors that surround it. Paying attention to those factors alongside treatment plans is what separates quality healthcare practices from mediocre ones.

So how do doctors create this kind of positive experience for patients? At Engine Systems, we’ve helped private practices answer this question for over 10 years. As Dr. Lee said, it’s more than just tiny aspects like parking lots or waiting rooms.

For us, it starts with creating a clinical pathway. Considering the all-encompassing patient experience and then working to make it as smooth and painless as possible is what creates the cohesive involvement that defines quality healthcare. Examining what those processes looks like for patients can help you find and fix any weak spots or fragmented processes that detract from the patient experience.

Beyond that, it’s important to train your team to prioritize the customer experience. This includes contact center representatives, administrational staff, nurses, and everyone else. If they know why they should prioritize patient care and how to effectively do so, they add an irreplaceable aspect to the patient experience. People want to feel supported, heard, and understood. Having a staff that understands that will keep patients happier and more prepared to take on possible life changes. It can also help your practice run more smoothly.

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In the same interview with Medical Economics, Dr. Lee continued: “We’ve looked at a ton of data at Press Ganey, and there is actually alignment that organizations that have better patient experience also have better technical quality, they have better safety records, and they also have better engagement of data from their doctors, nurses, and other employees.”

It’s clear that prioritizing patient experiences can benefit more than just patients. We understand that initiating any kind of change in an already busy workplace can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it’s worth it. And Engine Systems can help. Our Practice Builder network offers all the guidance, support, and resources needed to grow and scale your business, and its self-led style allows you to do it on your own time (or reach out for help if you’d like to benefit from our experience and expertise).

Book a discovery call today to learn how Engine Systems can help you serve patients better and grow your business.

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